Pacific historian and Professor Patricia O’Brien has spent five years researching and compiling her latest book,Tautai: Samoa, World history and the Life of Ta’isi O. F. Nelson.
Today, her painstaking efforts were rewarded as hundreds gathered for the official launch of Tautai at the TATTE Convention Centre. Family and relatives of Ta’isi Nelson were honoured to attend, some travelling from abroad to be present for the historic event.
The Honourable Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi expressed his admiration for Dr. O ‘Brien’s project, and said,
” This book is so full and rich with detail that I advise you all, read it two pages at a time, read the two pages and put it down until the next day. It is a remarkable book that every Samoan should read.”
He also thanked Dr. O’Brien for taking up such a challenging project and said, “This book goes to show that there should be an avenue to enable our own people to also write about our own history.”
Dr. O’Brien said that she had to meticulously skim through all available records on Samoa’s colonial times.
When asked by Samoa Planet of his thoughts on the book, grandson of Ta’isi Nelson, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi said he was “happy and relieved” that a “fair account of his grandfather’s struggles” was finally published.
“My grandfather’s name was damaged by many things that were said about him. Until now the story was one-sided and incomplete. He (Ta’isi) was exiled, mocked and ridiculed in his time, but finally, his side of the story will now be heard.”
Within minutes, stacks of Tautai books had disappeared as people rushed to purchase a copy at the discounted price of $140. The SSAB team diligently served customers, with many buying one book for each of their family members.
Professor Meleisea Leasiolagi Malama Meleisea, Director of the Centre for Samoan Studies was also present at the launch and said, ” Many other scholars and journalists such as Albert Wendt or Michael Field have written about Samoa’s history and historic figures, but as scholars, we have barely mentioned this man, Ta’isi Nelson…nothing as detailed and raw as this book has.”
Dr. O’Brien was accompanied by friend and fellow professor Dr Rachel Buchanan,the curator of the Germaine Greer Archive at the University of Melbourne.
According to Dr.Buchanan, the Tautai project is not only important for Samoan’s but also for Pacific people.
“Patricia has made the character of Ta’isi come to life through the pages of her book. This is a serious book with a message and a story that applies to all kinds of people.”
The Australian Government funded Dr. O’Brien’s research for the book through an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship Grant.
Samoa Stationary and Books is the exclusive supplier of the Tautai book, which retails at $160.
Tautai can be purchased at any SSAB branch.
Reporter with Samoa Planet.